IMPACT

Earth Hour Canada 2013: 5 Things You Can Do To Keep The Eco-Spirit Going Past Saturday Night

03/19/2013 01:37 EDT | Updated 03/25/2013 08:42 EDT

Earth Hour is happening this Saturday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m local time.

Started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, Canadians got on board with the environmental event a year later. The 2012 version of the event even went into space when astronauts reduced power on the International Space Station. This year Canada will be in the spotlight even more — Vancouver has been named the Global Earth Hour Capital for 2013 because of that city's action on climate change and sustainability.

The event is simple, at 8:30 p.m. this Saturday, turn off your lights and other non-essential electronics in your home. It's a symbolic gesture that the organizers hope will get you thinking about climate change and other environmental challenges we face. There will also be events in communities across the country and you can even take one of their "I Will If You Will" pledges to get your friends and family involved more directly.

But what do you do after the hour is over? We look at some of the ways you can keep the green spirit going after Earth Hour.

Keep The Lights Off

Think about the power consumption in and around your home. Change inefficient incandescent bulbs, turn down the thermostat and track down those energy vampires. Your wallet will thank you too.

Donate To A Green Charity

The WWF is one of the best known environmental charities but there are dozens out there tackling eco-problems big (climate change, deforestation) and small ones. Here's Charity Village's list of environmental charities across Canada.

Volunteer

These same charities often need your help at clean-up days, events or around the office. See how you can pitch in.

Go Veggie

Raising animals for meat is a known contributor to climate change. Think about going vegetarian (or vegan). You can limit your carbon footprint by cutting out meat full-time or even part-time. You may even see health benefits

Think About The Other Rs

Most of us already recycle but we shouldn't forget about the other two Rs. Think of ways you can reuse items and products around your home. Does that toy or old electronic gadget need to go into the trash or could a friend or neighbour use it? How can you cut back on what you buy? Is there an alternative product with less packaging?

See videos and photos from last year's Earth Hour below:

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EARTH HOUR CANADA